Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Early To Rise

Tuesday's Comic
The daily comic is a depiction of one of the highlights of my 10 dollar Monday one day after Christmas.

Never having gone to sleep is one way to be up early in the morning.

I'm at the computer room at the opening of it, 6 AM.

I now know that there are a couple guys, who live here, who are on the computers from 6 AM until the room closes at 8 PM.

I got home from busking and drew the cartoon to the left, having dug into it before even making coffee or smoking a bowl.

I made 10 bucks.

I had mainly decided to hit the Lilly Pad and play after I had spent the last of my cash on weed, after having run into a skinny kind of Cajun-like young man on the block that David The Water Jug Player hangs out on; though I didn't see that particular worthy. I know that they know that I know David and so I trusted that they wouldn't rip me off on that block. David would take that as a personal slight.

I had 9 bucks and a good mind to just get a sack for 5 and then return home with enough money to do laundry and other things to do like eat and perhaps draw cartoons. But the kid sold me a 5 dollar sack and then offered a second one for an additional 4 bucks.

Having gotten an offer I couldn't refuse, I just bent myself to the Lilly Pad.

It was so close by and it seemed like a waste to go home and smoke a bowl and then put on an excellent concert for Harold the cat, whose tip would be to walk over to his bowl and eat from it, rather than whomever might be out walking on Bourbon Street on the day after Christmas which happened to be a Monday.

I was curious about what kind of folks I might meet.

The Couple From Fort Worth

There was a cool couple from Fort Worth, Texas, early twenties with the lady kind of stylishly dressed wearing boots too thin to be cowgirl boots, like she was going to a fine establishment and the guy dressed a little more like he was going to a monster truck rally.

The guy said that he had tried to no avail to play the guitar and harmonica together, and in fact to play the guitar and sing together. He was asking me a lot of musical questions about it.

I gave him the juggling analogy. It's like juggling...either you're doing it perfectly or your dropping the balls, you can't be a sloppy juggler.

I gave him the diving analogy.

Playing both instruments simultaneously is like being a kid on the high diving board, too scared to jump; telling his muscles to make him jump but being stopped by some unseen subconscious fear. You have to not be afraid of sounding bad and jump into it.

I gave him the roller coaster analogy after both he and the lady had confessed a great fear of performing in public.

Here's a more recent picture of the "Flyer Comet" roller coaster

It goes as follows:

When I was 10 years old, I was afraid to go on the roller coaster at Whalom Park in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Bobby Curtis was not afraid at all.

He was 14, and had ridden the thing something like 70 times (according to his count).

I thought, then, that Bobby Curtis was 70 times braver than myself. He had dared the devil 70 times to my zero times.

But then, I eventually got up the courage to strap myself in to one of the seats on the roller coaster (which was one of the older ones in the nation and, hence, made out of wood; wood that had to be manipulated by wood technicians periodically, though, despite their efforts there was always a spot somewhere along the track where the cars get shucked sideways, giving a rude shock to the riders) and I took the ride.

I enjoyed the ride, and was no longer afraid to go on the thing but rather scurried back into line to go on it again.

It was then that I realized that Bobby had not been 70 times braver than I, only one time braver -the "one time" he first went on the roller coaster.

So, you see, performing in public can involve fear beforehand, but a feeling of exhilaration, after a successful performance will be the reward,  I wrapped up the roller coaster analogy with.

Try as they did, they could never quite work out the smoothest angles (right) and there was always a spot in a curve somewhere when the Flyer Comet would really be flying and the cars would be redirected in such a way that it would come annoyingly close to snapping the necks of the riders.
It seemed to always come at the end of a turn, as if they weren't arcing quite enough as they laid the track around the bend and then had to abruptly correct the problem in order to mate the track with the one on the other side of the curve.

Does that make sense?

By the way; why not just name your local roller coaster something that rhymes with vomit; to make it easier for people to nickname it.

The couple from Fort Worth promised to come back tonight "with more money," after expressing their regrets of not having been able to throw more into the tiposaurus' jar then.

I had gone backwards financially, on a day that saw me spend 9 bucks on weed, 2 bucks on food for Harold the cat, 8 more on water and energy drinks, 2 on coffee and chocolate, 50 cents on a Pick 3 ticket...50 cents for a banana...and 7 bucks on cigarettes.

Gosh, it's a good thing I don't drink; because that can become expensive.
Enough to scare the wits out of a 10 year old...

So, I prepare, on this Tuesday, to invest into my music business by ordering another harmonica and some strings. I also might see if they also sell those little plastic pegs that hold the strings in, so that I can fix up the "second" guitar that I have, which was given to me by Tim, my caseworker.

It is an Oscar Schmidt brand, made by, or for, Washburn.

I can tell that it is a pretty fine instrument and is plausibly better than the Takamine that I play every night. It is heavy, which indicates sturdy wood, I guess.

I haven't really played it with all its strings on it.

I am hoping that, at some point in the future, I'll be able to use it to record, in order to mix its tone in with the Takamine

It can also be inspiring to switch guitars, as different ones lend themselves to different things. It is common for a person to write a song immediately upon picking up a strange guitar for the first time. You discover how the guitar differs in feel from your own and, even though the thing might have deficiencies in other regards, it will almost always make playing a certain way easier than it is on your familiar old instrument.

For example, a guitar that has a much thinner neck might inspire you to compose a slide guitar riff, because, just maybe, having your fingertips closer to your palms might just imposture you to play your best slide. For example. I look forward to stringing up the Oscar Schmidt acoustic, though. It is ostensibly my backup guitar.

In this sense, Tim, by having given it to me has provided me with some sense of security which helps me to adjust to apartment life more readily. I could have something terrible happen to my Takamine and still be out busking the next night with the backup guitar.

In the meantime, I think I am going to buy a Fender "Blues DeVille" harmonica through MusiciansFriend.com.

It is 33 bucks.

I somehow get a good feeling just from the looks of it.

It is promised to live up to "Fender" standards, as far as its sound. It has phosphor bronze reeds. And they are replaceable!

I can get one and still have money left for a set of strings or two and those pegs to fix up the other guitar.

33 bucks gets me in the door and, once inside, I'll be able to perpetually buy the equivalent of a brand new Fender DeVille with each purchase of a new reed plate at under 20 bucks.

This is a critical strategic budgetary move for me; one which I must pounce upon while I have the means to. There is little doubt in my mind that I almost double my income with the addition of the harmonica to the acoustic guitar and vocals. So, the harmonica being here to stay, I must make such arrangements which will pay off in the long run.

I'm going to just have to decide which key to get and then send away on this Tuesday. This will allow the thing to get here before perhaps New Years Eve.

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Just because something says "Fender" on it, does not mean necessarily it's good.

Hopefully the "harp" you're getting is a re-named Lee Oskar, because those also have replaceable reed plates, and are well thought of.

BTW it's the guitars with thick necks that would make me think of playing slide, since I know I'd not be able to do chords as well so, tune it so it's a nice chord on open strings then slide away.

The public loves slide!

I honestly don't know why more people don't play slide, since it's so darned easy to play. I'd say "if you can whistle you can play slide" but really, even if you can't whistle you can play slide.